I hate to say it, but the remote working dream is dead.
All of those people who wished they could work from home are now strongly wishing, hoping, and praying with all of their might, that they can just return to the office.
And I don’t blame them.
When I quit my job to go freelance last year, I skipped out so happily I didn’t think I’d be able to stop grinning. I had all these plans about my new life in pyjamas, countless lunch dates, and working from far away places with plenty of sun and cocktails.
Only, we all know how that’s turned out.
Look, I’ve come out relatively unscathed.
I’ve managed to catch a few lunch dates, and I’ve certainly lived the majority of the year in my pyjamas. And, I don’t have kids — although I do have a husband and two cats who love to interrupt when I’m on a phone call.
So, how can I complain?
Well, there’s still a few universal annoyances that have likely caught all of us ‘remote working dreamers’ out — no matter what our living situation.
The dreaded Zoom call
There’s no denying that Zoom is a lifesaving invention. In times where we can’t hold in-person meetings but need that extra connection, Zoom fixes that issue right up. We can screen share and see all those lovely, friendly faces and facial expressions — although the majority of the time we’re actually staring at our own face.
But when video calls are ‘popped’ in our schedule when it can be dealt with by way of a one-line email or quick phone call, that’s when the problems kick in. Zoom anxiety and fatigue is a real thing, and it’s become a real negative aspect of working from home.
Boundaries. What boundaries?
Remember when we generally used to work from 9am — 5pm, Monday — Friday? Nope, neither do I. Because all of a sudden, since everyone began working from home — regardless of whether you’re an employee or a freelancer — everyone has forgotten that they have a life outside of work.
When I sign off at the end of my working day (because I’ve actually managed to instil some serious boundaries now) I take a big sigh and smile at my empty inbox that I’ve spent all day clearing. I login at 9am the next morning to what seems like thirty thousand emails across various different email accounts as all of my clients have decided to spend the night before working.
Where’s my pool float?
Instagram, especially right now, promotes lies.
My idea had been to spend parts of the year lying on a pool lounger in a tropical country, sipping cocktails, and tapping away on my laptop. Because that’s what all the digital nomads do, right?
We won’t address whether I could afford to do this or whether this was a realistic image when I first decided to go freelance, but regardless, the vision that was sold to me has not transpired.
Maybe the dream wasn’t remote working after all.
What we really wanted was the freedom to work where, when, and how we want. And not have to struggle to rag a brush through our hair and put something appropriate on our top half for an unplanned video call.